Star Wars Rebels, Season 4 (2017-2018) Review

Season 4 of Rebels is short, not unlike Season 1, but it is filled with a variety of inter-connected narrative threads and it remains strongly committed to high production quality as it wraps up the loose ends of the show. In Season 4, we revisit the Mandalore story arc, we return to Lothal where it all began (and where mystical Loth-Wolves play an important role), and we depart from the rebel base on Atallon for the last time en route to the more familiar base on Yavin IV as seen in the original trilogy. With the end of the Darth Maul arc in Season 3 of Rebels, I was curious to see where else they would take this season, but all things considered it did not disappoint. Season 4 is a bittersweet end to a fun show –it still maanages to bring back important characters we have seen in prior seasons. Thankfully, Rebels does not retcon the original trilogy. By the end, the Jedi all reasonably vanish as does Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the show does justice to the broader Star Wars universe. In my view, Rebels remains an underrated animated show in the contemporary Star Wars story.     

Episodes 1 & 2 “Heroes of Mandalore”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

On Mandalore a union of rebels and Mandalorians (under the leadership of Sabine) conduct a raid on an Imperial-friendly Clan Saxon outpost where Sabine’s father is being held prisoner. However, as the battle turns sideways, they are rescued by Lady Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff). Sabine attempts to hand the Darksaber over to Bo-Katan, but she refuses to accept it. Then, Sabine’s father is moved to the capital of Sundari where he is to be executed. The rebels and Mandalorians manage to rescue her father, Alrich Wren, in a successful high-speed chase. Sadly, they discover that a contingent of Mandalorians has been entirely annihilated by a weapon designed to neutralize Mandalorian beskar armor –a weapon designed by Sabine nicknamed the “Duchess” (unfortunately named for the Duchess Satine). Amazingly, her mother and brother survived (Ursa and Tristan). Sabine confesses that she actually secretly sabotaged the weapon.  

The Imperial-friendly Mandalorians under Gar Saxon’s brother, Tiber Saxon, do not fully understand the weapon. Therefore, they are in search of Sabine. Meanwhile, Sabine, Fenn Rau, Bo-Katan and the rest of the Mandalorians are persuaded to overlook their anger at Sabine for developing such a brutal weapon while in training at the Imperial Academy, and instead they join together with the rebels to invade the Saxon Star Destroyer in the hopes of ending the weapon once and for all. However, upon finding its location, Tiber Saxon fires the weapon on low power at Sabine and Bo-Katan. Saxon intends to force all Mandalorians to bow before him. He commands Sabine to increase the range of the weapon and fix all of its technical problems. Under pain of torture, she agrees to repair the machine. However, instead she redirects the weapon against Imperial stormtrooper armor. The heroes flee the Star Destroyer and, in the end, Sabine convinces Bo-Katan to claim the Darksaber and rule Mandalore. The episode ends on a triumphant note as Sabine raises the Darksaber and the clans all pledge their loyalty –Clan Vizsla, Clan Rook, Clan Eldar, Clan Kryze, the Protectors, and Clan Wren.

Episodes 3-4 “In the Name of the Rebellion”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra, Kanan and Sabine arrive at the rebel base Yavin 4 –they are followed by Hera who crashlands just outside the base. They all meet up with Mon Mothma and a holo projection of Senator Bail Organa who shares intel received on behalf of Saw Guerrera (presumably by torture) regarding relay communications on the planet Jalindi. This upsets Ezra, who wants the rebel alliance to help Lothal. He is also impressed by Saw Guerrera’s willingness to do anything to stop the Empire –even torture. At any rate, Ezra and Sabine are joined by Chopper as they drop down onto an Imperial satellite dish in order to sabotage it, however they are spotted. Imperial TIEs begin chasing the Ghost which Kanan guides using his uniquely blind force vision through low-lying fog. Then, Saw Guerrera suddenly arrives to rescue Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper. They drop explosives on the satellite and destroy it. When more Imperials arrive, Saw Guerrera takes Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper away –a situation which worries Hera. She does not want Ezra to become corrupted by Saw.  

Saw solicits the help of Ezra and Sabine as he discovers a secret Imperial project which he suspects is being held aboard a civilian cargo vessel. They approach Freighter 2716 and begin to hear strange singing. The ship is apparently headed for the remote Tonnis Sector. They spot Imperial stormtroopers guarding something in Cargo Bay 17 –it turns out to be a cohort of prisoners, mostly power technicians from Coruscant who refused to participate in a secret Imperial project. Saw is less sympathetic toward the plight of the prisoners because he believes there is still something much bigger happening on this freighter. They find guards surrounding a giant kyber crystal which will be used to power some sort of super weapon… Meanwhile, Ezra and Sabine quickly try to disable the ship’s engine, but Saw betrays them and steals the kyber crystal with the help of his co-pilot Two-Tubes. While Saw flees, Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper rescue the prisoners and they are saved by the Ghost. All the prisoners decide to join the rebellion on Yavin IV.       

Episodes 5-6 “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender”        

Rating: 4 out of 5.

En route to Yavin IV, Ezra has a vision which shows that his friends—Old Jho and Ryder Azadi—are suffering on Lothal. When discussing the situation with Mon Motha, she reveals that Lothal is under Imperial occupation where they are improving the TIE Defender model. With the help of the smuggler Vizago, Ezra returns to Lothal with Kallus and the rest of the Ghost crew only to discover that Lothal has become an ashen, industrial wasteland under Imperial rule. Old Jho’s bar is now run by a cocky TIE pilot named Baron Valen Rudor. He informs them that the ISB recently invaded a rebel cell and executed Old Jho. Ezra accidentally runs into his old companion from the Imperial Academy, Jai Kell, and they travel through the sewer where they find Ryder Azadi. He leads them to conduct reconnaissance on the newly TIE Defender. They capture some photos but then at Sabine’s urging, they try to retrieve the flight recorder data from the ship. Suddenly, Grand Admiral Thrawn arrives. Sabine and Ezra hijack the TIE Defender and destroy much of the Imperial base as Thrawn fearlessly fires his gun at the ship –a nice nod to Patton. Sabine quickly realizes that the TIE Defender has a remotely accessible “kill switch” the Empire can use to disable the ship. As they escape, Ezra has a vision of a mythical “Loth-Wolf” who carries them to safety (Dave Filoni co-wrote this episode and his lifelong fascination of wolves is the stuff of legend within the Star Wars fandom).  

Episode 7 “Kindred”  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kanan senses a greater purpose within the force as the crew returns to the planet Lothal. Meanwhile, Thrawn’s agent Rukh arrives and smells a Lasat, so he travels a great distance in search of Zeb. However, Zeb escapes and steals a transport while Rukh is sent back among the Imperials. Kanan and Hera finally kiss, but the Empire tracks down the rebel camp, so Ezra relies on a pack of Loth-Wolves to guide them to safety via a passage through the mountains.

Episode 8 “Crawler Commandeers” 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While hiding out in the mountains, the crew worries about Hera breaking through the blockade, when suddenly Sabine picks up a strange transmission. While investigating, they find an ore crawler –a vehicle which burns and strips the raw surface materials of a planet for the Empire. The ore crawler also has a device onboard which offers long-range communications and thus the crew decides to hijack and commandeer it. During the capture, they make some bungling mistakes and uncover a contingent of slaves in the ship’s hull (including their old friend, the smuggler Vizago). Meanwhile, the Mining Guild is alerted but the crew successfully evades detection. In the end, they finally make contact with Hera, and Vizago becomes the new captain of the crawler.

Episode 9 “Rebel Assault”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Rebel Alliance launches a coordinated attack upon Imperial forces under Grand Admiral Thrawn on Lothal. Their primary target is the Imperial fuel depot and the factory. Tragically, a band of X-Wings takes some heavy hits –a few crash-land on the surface of Lothal, including Hera so Kanan embarks on a dangerous mission to rescue her. While en route, he is interrupted by a Loth-Wolf who simply says he seeks “Dume.” Somehow, Kanan seems to understand this cryptic remark. Eventually, Hera is captured by Governor Pryce. In the end, Kanan rescues Chopper and Hera’s rebel pilot colleague, Mart (Zachary Gordon).

Episode 10 “Jedi Night”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kanan asks Ezra to take the lead on rescuing Hera, since his own perspective is clouded by his feelings for Hera. Meanwhile, Hera is tortured by Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Ezra reaches out using the force and discovers the location of Hera. The crew then decides to construct gliders to fly in and rescue Hera, while Kanan symbolically cuts his hair.

Within the Empire, a feud is brewing between Thrawn’s vision, and Orson Krennic’s “Project Stardust.” This pulls Thrawn away from Lothal, while the Ghost crewmen invade Governor Pryce’s facility to rescue Hera whose mind is being probed. First, Kanan busts in and breaks Hera free while battling Thrawn’s assassin, Rukh, then Ezra and Sabine pose as Imperial pilots during the fight while headed for the fuel depot. In the scuffle, Kanan loses his lightsaber, then he and Hera profess their mutual love. The sentimentality is laid on thick in this episode (leading us to suspect something terrible is coming). Moments after Hera confesses her love for Kanan, the Empire fires directly upon its own fuel pod causing a massive explosion. Kanan leaps into the fray to hold back the flames via the force, but in doing so, he sacrifices his own life. The episode ends on a deeply tragic note as Kanan Jarrus dies.  

Episode 11 “DUME”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Despite the destruction of the fuel depot and the closing down of the TIE Defender project, Governor Pryce celebrates the death of Jedi Master Kanan Jarrus with a parade. Sabine and Zeb travel to disrupt the parade, but Governor Pryze is scolded by Thrawn for her recklessness, Hera falls into a deep state of mourning, and Ezra is plagued by a vision of Loth-Wolves who lead him to a giant loth-wolf named DUME (the same name as Kanan Jarrus whose true name was “Caleb Dume”) who instructs Ezra to work together and return to the Jedi Temple on Lothal to find knowledge. Zeb fights in hand-to-hand combat with Rukh who cloaks himself with invisibility until Sabine reveals him and when they defeat Rukh, they send him unconscious, covered in Sabine’s graffiti, back to Capital City on Lothal.     

Episode 12 “Wolves and a Door”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra explains that the Jedi Temple which is located far to the North is in need of help. The Loth-Wolves tell Ezra that the Empire is doing something terrible at the Jedi Temple. Using the force, he summons the pack of Loth-Wolves so that he, Sabine, Hera, Zeb, and Chopper can travel the long distance to the Temple. The crew falls into a visionary trance, seemingly traveling through space and time, as the Loth-Wolves transport them to the Jedi Temple on Lothal. They discover that the Temple has sealed itself off as the Imperial Mining Guild attempts to uncover the secrets of the Temple –namely a “portal” which is a conduit between the living and the dead. The project is being led by Minister Hydan (Malcolm McDowell). He reports directly to the Emperor as he finds historical iconography and artwork buried deep within the Temple, and they resemble the Mortis gods as previously conveyed in The Clone Wars (The Father, The Son, and The Daughter), as well as Loth-Wolves and the bird Morai. Sabine and Ezra go incognito as stormtroopers and by using the force and “listening” to the painting on the wall, Ezra is able to open the doorway to the Temple.

Episode 13 “A World Between Worlds”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra steps into a strange portal where echoes of Jedi voices occur all around him –it is a “world between worlds.” This portal possesses immense power. Ezra stumbles upon the bird Morai perched above a doorway, and inside Ahsoka Tano is battling Darth Vader back at the Sith Temple –the scene from the end of Season 2. Just before she is struck by Darth Vader, Ezra reaches in and rescues Ahsoka as Vader crashes through the ground. Ahsoka, once she gains an understanding of her whereabouts, thanks Ezra and says she owes him her life, and she embraces Morai, “an old friend” to whom she also owes her life. Ezra believes he can also rescue Kanan, but Ahsoka persuades him against altering this part of the past because Kanan decided to end his life to save everyone else. However, before Ezra and Ahsoka can figure out how to escape the world between worlds, the Emperor suddenly appears and sends fire through a doorway toward Ezra and Ahsoka, hoping to capture them to find his own way into the portal. Ahsoka leaps back through her doorway with Morai which drops her backward in time and space to where she was previously battling Vader (though Vader was sent crashing through the ground), and Ezra narrowly manages to leap back through his own doorway back to the Imperial Mining Guild (they both agree to reunite again). Meanwhile, Sabine has been captured and tortured by Minister Hydan who explains all the language and iconography, but she is freed by Zeb and Hera. They all escape as the Temple comes crashing down. In the end, Hera is still mourning and Ezra bids farewell to Kanan’s presence as the Loth-Wolf “DUME.”

Episode 14 “A Fool’s Hope”  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost crew visits “Joopa Base” and reunites with many old friends — Rex, Kallus, Hondo, Gregor, Wolffe, Ryder Azadi, and Ketsu. Ezra has a vision of Thrawn returning to Lothal, he believes the time to strike and liberate Lothal is at hand. However, a traitorous message on a pre-Imperial line is sent to Governor Pryce by Ryder Azadi offering the coordinates of the rebels in exchange for amnesty for himself. In the battle, Ezra fights Rukh while Hera and the rest of the Ghost crew arrive back at Lothal. Under Hondo’s direction, in order to avoid detection, they power down and wait outside a hyperspace shipping lane for another ship to arrive so they can pass through the Imperial blockade undetected. But the battle on the ground goes sideways and all the rebels are captured –they soon learn that Ryder Azadi was the traitor—but in a twist of fate this was apparently the plan all along. Hera and the Ghost arrive and shoot down the Imperial forces while on the ground Ezra leads them into a cave where the giant Loth-Wolves tear the stormtroopers apart. In the end, they capture Governor Pryce.

Episodes 15-16 “Family Reunion – and Farewell”  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The rebels use Governor Pryce in exchange for landing codes while still posing as prisoners. After a brief battle, they easily take control of the facility. However, Rukh escaped from the previous battle and he attacks the rebels before disabling the shield generators. He also communicates with Thrawn who is set to arrive on Lothal imminently. When Thrawn appears, he begins firing upon civilians until Ezra surrenders himself. He is then brought before a holo communication of the Emperor. He leads Ezra through a reconstruction of the Jedi Temple where Ezra is tempted with a portal to return to his parents, a world of infinite possibilities where they might live again. But Ezra tells his parents that he loves them, but that he must help his friends. He then sends the Temple walls crashing down and escapes. Meanwhile, Zeb entraps Rukh in the generator and kills him. In the fight, the clone warrior Gregor tragically dies. Then the Ghost crew returns with the purrgil –an arrangement Ezra made with Mart. The purrgil attack Thrawn’s ship and wrap him in their coils (perhaps in fulfillment of the Bendu’s prophecy at the end of Season 3) as the purrgil jump to hyperspace with Thrawn and his ship, along with Ezra onboard.

In the end, the Imperial presence on Lothal is destroyed. Ezra leaves behind a message for his crewmates –his family—offering Zeb the top bunk, Hera a meiloorun, and for Sabine he delivers a cryptic message stating that he’s counting on her (…but for what?). The show ends as Sabine narrates: Kallus is taken along the secret hyperspace path to the planet Lira San where he is welcome and learns that he did not, in fact, while out all the Lasat while serving the Empire. Hera and Rex have fought in the Battle of Endor, and she gives birth to a baby named Jacen Syndulla (“Spectre-7” aboard the Ghost) –how and when did she and Kanan conceive a child? The timeline here is a bit hazy. At any rate, Sabine joins with a hooded Ahsoka Tano as they pledge to track down Ezra Bridger somewhere out there in the galaxy…    

Note: Captain Pellaeon is briefly mentioned in this episode, and the name “Jacen” appears to be an allusion to Jacen Solo from the Star Wars Expanded Universe/Legends.

Thus concludes Star Wars Rebels, a brilliant animated show which adds to the Star Wars legacy and lore.

Return to my survey of the Star Wars series

Star Wars Rebels, Season 3 (2016-2017) Review

For Season 3 of Rebels, we jump forward in time and abandon some of the narrative threads in Seasons 1-2, such as Darth Vader and the Inquisitors. Now, Ezra Bridger has become more arrogant –like a teenager—perhaps owing to his teaching by Maul at the end of the prior season. In Season 3, the show comes into its own, and we are introduced to more characters like Saw Guerrera (from Rogue One), Mon Mothma, Wedge Antilles, and the fan favorite from the Star Wars novels: Grand Admiral Thrawn. Season 3 also ends the Darth Maul arc which was revived in The Clone Wars and it expands the Agent Kallus story.

For Season 3, Dave Filoni was promoted head of animation at Lucasfilm which allowed Justin Ridge to take his place as supervising director of Rebels. 2016 was an expansive year for Lucasfilm with lots of new projects on the docket –The Force Awakens had just been released, and Rogue One was also released, both receiving a fair degree of praise from critics and fans alike. Season 3 of Rebels only added to this success, and today many fans regard it as their favorite season of Rebels.  

Episodes 1-2 “Steps into Shadow (Parts I & II)”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Approximately six months after the events in the previous season, Ezra has been promoted to lieutenant and he has grown confident, perhaps to the point of arrogance. The Ghost crew are now leading a mission to rescue Hondo Ohnaka from prison. During the raid, Terba (Hondo’s cell mate) is killed. At this point, Kanan feels fearful and he has been somewhat absent from the crew in his blindness. Ezra has been subtly drawn to the darkside of the force thanks to the influence of Maul in the previous season. Ezra proudly displays his new powers –such as the use of mind control on nearby Imperials operating AT-STs. He has been apparently communicating with the Sith holocron he took from the Sith temple at the end of Season 2.

Meanwhile, among the Imperial side of things, Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) requests use of the Seventh fleet from Grand Moff Tarkin in order to combat the rebels of Lothal. We also receive the long-awaited introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), who has recently promoted by the Empire after his victory at Batonn. He is a fearsome, calm, and calculating figure.

While Ezra communicates with the Sith holocron, Kanan is called into the wilderness on Atollon by a strange voice, a giant force-wielding creature called The Bendu (Tom Baker). The Bendu represents a middle path of the force between lightness and darkness. The Bendu pledges to teach Kanan how to truly see without the use of his eyes, by teaching him to sense the spiders on Atollon, rather than be fearful of them.

Throughout the episode, Ezra acts rashly, lacking clear-sightedness. He leads a cohort of rebels to the Yarma System on a recon mission regarding Imperial bombers but it quickly turns into a recovery operation thanks to missteps by Ezra. He damages the Imperial facility which sends it crashing out of the clouds while the rest of the crew is forced to hijack bombers to escape only to find that the ships do not have hyperdrives –and suddenly an Imperial Star Destroyer appears. In the end, the rebel fleet arrives to rescue the operation and Kana and Hera save Ezra at the last moment. As a result of his failures, Ezra’s command is suspended and he reunites with a newly confident Kanan who has hidden the Sith holocron from Ezra.      

Episode 3 “The Holocrons of Fate”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra and Kanan discover an empty ship floating in space –it has been attacked by Maul who has taken the Ghost crew hostage in exchange for both the Jedi and Sith holocrons. During the capture, Kanan Jarrus’s real name is revealed to be “Caleb Dume.” Ezra and Kanan return to the Bendu to reclaim the holocron located in a cave surrounded by Krykna spiders. Ezra brings the Sith holocron to Maul (Maul had already located the Jedi holocron onboard the Ghost). Together, they open the holocrons while Kanan rescues the rest of the Ghost crew. Next, Kanan instructs Ezra to look away but the holocrons still give him a vision of a planet with “twin suns” and Maul frantically flees the ship cackling and muttering “he lives…” as he presumably travels in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his ultimate nemesis.

Episode 4 “The Antilles Extraction”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The rebels are delivering food supplies to Taralov when an Imperial warship appears and attacks the rebels, destroying all of the ships –including an entire escort of A-wings, six pilots and a transport’s entire crew. With ships and pilots in short supply, the rebellion relies on a new “Fulcrum” informant inside the Empire (this Fulcrum agent is not not Ahsoka Tano) who shares that there are a few pilots wishing to defect from the Empire. Who is Fulcrum? Could it be Agent Kallus? Sabine is assigned on an undercover mission to board an Imperial vessel where she quickly encounters a young pilot named Wedge Antilles (Nathan Kress) who was initially recruited by the Empire but has since become morally conflicted regarding Imperial tactics. He and a group of other pilots join Sabine’s plan to escape from the Empire but Governor Pryce catches them in a trap. In the end, Wedge, his friend Hobbie, and Sabine are all rescued –and Wedge officially joins the rebellion.  

This episode offers a nice expanded backstory for Wedge Antilles, though apparently Biggs Darklighter was apparently set to make an appearance in the original script which would have been extraordinary.  

Episode 5 “Hera’s Heroes”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

On Ryloth, the Imperial presence is growing, and the Empire has taken over the Tan province. Sadly, Hera’s family heirloom, their Kalikori, could not be rescued (a revered Twi’lek heirloom, the Kalikori is a living artwork of family history passed down from generation to generation). Thus, Ezra and Hera embark on a personal mission to recover the Kalikori –however, Grand Admiral Thrawn anticipates their actions and a battle ensues that only ends with Ezra and Hera being captured. Hera’s father Cham attempts to sacrifice himself, while Hera sets a trap of explosives, destroying their house in order to escape. The episode ends as Grand Admiral Thrawn allows them to flee, and Hera accepts that she will not need her family’s Kalikori anymore (Thrawn has taken it for his own art collection).    

This episode gives us more backstory for Hera and her family on Ryloth. We also learn that she initially rescued the droid Chopper from an abandoned Y-Wing during the Clone Wars.

Episode 6 “The Last Battle”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While salvaging supplies from an old Clone Wars battlefield led by Rex, a group of former tactical droids led by a Super Tactical Droid named “General Kalani” (Gregg Berger) the Ghost crew are forced into a mock battle between Separatist and Republic forces to see once and for all who proves superior. Ezra, Kanan, and Rex participate in this farce which forces clones and Jedi against droids. In the end, Ezra manages to negotiate peace between the two sides when he points out that both sides share a common enemy in the Empire. By the end, Kanan shares news of a newly recovered ship with Hera.

Episode 7 “Imperial Supercommandos”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

En route to Mandalore after losing communication with the rogue Protector contingent, the rebel prisoner Fenn Rau briefly tries to escape but this leads to the rebels finding the Protector’s base entirely destroyed –an act which could only have been caused by other Mandalorians. It turns out to be the work of Gar Saxon (Ray Stevenson), the Imperial viceroy of Mandalore who is also a member of the House Vizsla (like Sabine). He leads a band of Imperial-friendly Mandalorians as they capture Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper until Fenn Rau has a change of heart and decides to help the rebels escape. In the end, he joins the rebellion.    

Episode 8 “Iron Squadron”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Ghost crew helps rebel sympathizers hoping to evacuate from a blockade over Mykapo where they encounter a group of young kids operating the Iron Squadron, a rebel squadron which was formerly under the control of Commander Sato’s brother but he has tragically been killed. Now, the squadron is led by Commander Sato’s overly zealous young nephew named Mart (Zachary Gordon). When Thrawn learns of this fact, he sends a large fleet of ships to attack. Ezra and Sabine manage to rescue the kids at the last moment. This is a bit of a fluff episode for children in my view.

Episode 9 “The Wynkahthu Job”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hondo Ohnaka and Azmorigan return in this episode as the rebels team up with both smugglers to steal valuable cargo in exchange for proton bombs. On the ship, they encounter sentry droids thanks to Azmorigan’s incompetence, but in the end, they escape with the proton bombs. As with “Iron Squadron” this strikes me as another filler episode written for children, filled with comic relief from Hondo and Azmorigan.  

Episode 10 “An Inside Man”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kanan and Ezra return to Lothal with Azadi Ryder, whose domestic rebel cell has been causing havoc for the Empire. Kanan, Ezra, and Ryder all infiltrate an Imperial factory because their secret contact “Fulcrum” has shared intel that the Empire is intending to build a new kind of weapon –a TIE Defender model which comes equipped with a shield, making it a significant improvement over the TIE Fighter ships. Grand Admiral Thrawn pays a visit to the factory investigating why speeder bikes are exploding at an unprecedented rate. He orders a demonstration which kills one of Ezra’s old friends on Lothal who works in the factory. Shortly thereafter Agent Kallus reveals himself to be Fulcrum. He helps the rebels escape, but the episode ends as Thrawn promises to watch and wait in order to find the mole within his ranks.

Episode 11 “Visions and Voices”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra starts having visions of Maul. After speaking with the Bendu, Maul reappears. He explains that he wishes to learn what Ezra saw in the Sith holocron in “The Holocrons of Fate.” In exchange for keeping the location of the rebel base on Atollon a secret, Maul strikes a deal with Ezra. Together, they travel to Dathomir to use a bit of magic from the Witches of Dathomir or “Nightsisters” (in other words, they merge their minds so that Maul can understand what Ezra saw in the holocron). It is a wonderful callback to one of the most celebrated narrative arcs in The Clone Wars. In Maul’s dark lair, Ezra happens to spot the Darksaber among the many relics scattered about. Maul merely instructs Ezra to leave the Darksaber alone. Both Ezra and Maul drink a potion which reveals their wishes –Ezra wants to defeat the Sith, while Maul hopes to learn the whereabouts of Obi-Wan Kenobi. They both are made aware of a desert planet with twin suns. Meanwhile, Kanan and Sabine arrive hoping to rescue Ezra. Then the ghosts of the Nightsisters appear demanding repayment of life blood. As dark spirits, they embody Kanan and Sabine by turning them evil. Maul then abandons Ezra, leaving him to revive Kanan and Sabine from possession by the Nightsisters. While brandishing the Darksaber, Ezra destroys the Nightsister’s altar from which their power emanates. In the end, Sabine claims the Darksaber.

I thought this was one of the best episodes of Rebels thus far, with plenty echoes of The Clone Wars.  

Episodes 12-13 “Ghosts of Geonosis”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost crew is on a secret mission. Senator Bail Organa explains that a team reported an energy source on Geonosis before losing communication with Saw Guerrera. After crossing through a storm, they land on Geonosis and then also notice a strange power source before discovering an underground bunker. Rex explains that he once trained Saw Guerrera and his sister Steela to fight the Separatists. Since then, Saw started his own rebel faction which uses questionable tactics.

At any rate, the crew travels further underground, following a trail of remnants left behind by Saw Guerrera’s people and then they stumble upon a cohort of shielded battle droids from the Clone Wars era. Then find Saw Guerrera (Forest Whitaker) who explains that the Empire is hiding something important. Deep underground, they follow a bug who activates many sleeping attack droids on the planet’s surface. Ezra and Saw disable the battle droids and corner the bug “Klik-Klak –he tries to explain a new Imperial weapon under construction by drawing circles in the dirt (as audience members, we know him to be referring to the construction of the Death Star). Saw grows irate with Klik-Klak (even stooping to torture) while an Imperial patrol discovers the Ghost. As it turns out, Klik-Klak has been protecting his future offspring –an egg which is the last of his kind. Then the Empire suddenly finds the location of the Ghost which pushes the crew further underground. They follow Klik-Klak through a network of tunnels. With his help, they flee from the Empire, rescue Saw Guerrera, and they share images of poison gas containers with the broader rebellion as evidence. In the end, Ezra learns that not every rebel shares the same tactics, values, or reason for fighting the Empire.     

Episode 14 “Warhead”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An escape pod with an Imperial infilter recon droid lands on Atollon, but the droid is attacked by Krykna spiders. Meanwhile, the rest of Phoenix Squadron departs and leaves Zeb in charge of the “Chopper base.” In this quirky comedy episode, Zeb is alerted to a disruption so he and Chopper investigate to accidentally find a highly dangerous Imperial recon droid EX-9 at protocol mode at first, but he soon transforms into a volatile weapon. After a struggle, Zeb instructs AP-5 to reprogram the Imperial droid so that it is set to return to the Empire and detonate a proton warhead. The episode ends with a message from Fulcrum (Agent Kallus) who acknowledges their exploding droid plot, however Grand Admiral Thrawn sees this as an opportunity since he had sent out recon droids to only 91 planets in search of the rebel base.    

Episode 15 “Trials of the Darksaber”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kanan shows the Darksaber he took from Maul to Fenn Rau who explains that the Darksaber was the symbol for House Vizsla, and later the leader of Death Watch. The Mandalorians did not develop the Darksaber, but rather it was created over a thousand years ago by Tar Vizsla. In this historical backstory, we are treated to a fantastic animation sequence reminiscent of early animated films (it was also used in Harry Potter to explain the Elder Wand). At any rate, if Sabine can wield this weapon, she can unite the Mandalorians and thereby raise an army. In this episode, Kanan and Ezra convince Sabine to learn to use a lightsaber. It is a frustrating experience for Sabine –she is filled with self- doubt and lack of trust, especially since she is considered a traitor by many Mandalorians. After several arguments, Kanan challenges Sabine, forcing her to confront her fears. In the end, she gains newfound confidence in order to lead the Mandalorians.

Episode 16 “Legacy of Mandalore”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Sabine, Ezra, Kanan, and Fenn Rau travel to Krownest in the Mandalore system with the hopes of reuniting with Sabine’s family, though she warns the others that her family might greet them violently since they still consider her a traitor. Upon arrival on this cold, snowy, desolate planet, they are fired upon and Sabine eventually meets her brother Tristan (Ritesh Rajan) and mother Ursa (Sharmila Devar). Sabine is arrested and prepared to face trial until she reveals her possession of the Darksaber. We learn that Clan Wren has made a treaty with the Empire, and Sabine’s father is being held captive on Mandalore. Sabine’s mother informs the Empire of the capture of Sabine and two Jedi, but Fenn Rau breaks in and delivers the confiscated lightsabers to the Kanan and Ezra. And when the Empire arrives, the Imperials actually accuse the Countess of Clan Wren of being a traitor, as well. A battle ensues, and Sabine fights Gar Saxon who has stolen the Darksaber. They fight over snow and crackling ice until Sabine gains the upper hand over Saxon but he refuses to yield and she refuses to execute him. When he attempts to shoot Sabine in the back, her mother Ursa shoots and kills Gar Saxon. In the end, instead of returning with the Ghost crew to Phoenix Squadron, Sabine decides to remain with her family on Krownest and help find the right person to be the future leader of Mandalore.    

Episode 17 “Through Imperial Eyes”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This episode opens with a brilliant first-person point-of-view of Agent Kallus as an alarm rings out over the intercom aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer. A stolen shuttle has blasted its way out of the Lothal space port. Ezra Bridger is then detained, as well as the droids Chopper and AP-5. Privately, Ezra informs Kallus that the rebellion believes his last Fulcrum transmission was intercepted by the Empire. They carelessly leave behind Ezra’s helmet. Moments later, Grand Admiral Thrawn summons his officers to announce a search for the rebel spy, and he also mentions that he is very close to finding the secret location of the rebel base. When they first spot Thrawn, he is battling a pair of droids. He appears to be in peak physical health. Kallus helps Ezra escape captivity, and Ezra goes undercover as an Imperial known as Lieutenant Lyste (Liam O’Brien). They covertly transmit data back to the rebellion from Thrawn’s office, and attempt to change Thrawn’s trajectory in locating the rebel base on Atollon. Lt. Lyste is blamed for being the “Fulcrum” spy while Kallus is celebrated as a hero, however as the episode ends, Thrawn privately acknowledges that he believes Kallus to be the real spy…          

This was one of the most intense, nailbiter episodes of the series as we wonder when Kallus will be captured or outmaneuvered by Thrawn. Note: in this episode, Thrawn attempts to use a code to deactivate battle droids –“Rukh”– which was the name of his Noghri bodyguard in Timothy Zahn’s celebrated Thrawn trilogy. And Fulcrum’s secret code message is once again “By the light of Lothal’s moons.”   

Episode 18 “Secret Cargo”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra, Hera, Zeb, and Chopper are on a top-secret mission to meet with a rebel contact in deep space. They watch an inspiring speech on the HoloNet delivered by Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) as she calls out the Emperor for keeping a stranglehold over the galaxy, an act for which she is accused of treason. Suddenly an Imperial probe droid appears and the Ghost decides to attack, hoping it is unable to transmit coordinates back to the Empire. Moments later, a giant rebel ship appears –it is the arrival of Gold Squadron. They seem to be secretive and somewhat unfriendly. However, the secret “cargo” is soon revealed to be none other than Senator Mon Mothma. Unfortunately, the Empire did receive the location coordinates and appears in Governor Pryce’s Star Destroyer to intercept Mon Mothma whom they have deemed a traitor. The Ghost leads some of the new TIE Defenders into the nearby Archeon Nebula and fire proton torpedoes at the nebula which causes an explosion, nearly destroying the Imperial vessels, while the rebels escape just in time. The Ghost transports Mon Mothma to Dantooine where she transmits a message to the galaxy, calling for unity among rebel forces and announcing her resignation from the Galactic Senate. In amazement, the Ghost crew watches as dozens from rebel ships appear over Dantooine –it is the birth of the Rebel Alliance!   

Episode 19 “Double Agent Droid”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The episode is a silly bit of comic relief. It plays on the disgruntled squabbling between AP-5 and Chopper as they secretly board an Imperial vessel and secure codes on behalf of the rebels. However, the Empire catches onto the game and nearly programs Copper to find the location of the rebel base. It is another filler droid episode.

Episode 20 “Twin Suns”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Trudging through the hot, arid desert of Tatooine, Maul is in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, Ezra Bridger has a vision of Maul chasing after Obi-Wan Kenobi. And without the permission of Hera and Kanan, he steals a fighter jet and heads for Tatooine. After being attacked by Jawas, Ezra and Chopper are forced to wander through the desert. On the verge of death, they are surprisingly rescued by Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Stephen Stanton). Then Obi-Wan sends Ezra and Chopper riding northward as Maul appears out of the shadows, demanding to know who Obi-Wan is protecting. Obi-Wan and Maul duel briefly but the fight is over quickly with Obi-Wan slicing Maul’s lightsaber in half. As he dies, Maul asks, “is he the chosen one?” To which Obi-Wan responds, “yes.” Maul breathes a sigh of relief and with his dying breath, he utters, “he will avenge us.”

The episode ends as Ezra returns to his “family” (i.e. the Ghost crew) while Obi-Wan keeps watch over young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. Thus ends the arc of Darth Maul which was revived in The Clone Wars.      

Episodes 21-22 “Zero Hour Parts I & II”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Grand Admiral Thrawn brings urgent news to Governor Pryce. He mentions an impending rebel attack on the Lothal TIE factory, but when Agent Kallus (as the informant known as “Fulcrum”) attempts to warn the rebels, he is caught by Thrawn. Thanks to Kallus, the Empire now discovers the location of the rebel base on Atollon. A vast space battle ensues while, on the ground, Kanan attempts to persuade the Bendu to help in the fight. Just when things seem the most dire (the rebel ships are prevented from jumping to hyperspace), Commander Sato issues the order to abandon ship and then he sacrifices himself by crashing into a Star Destroyer. Only Ezra Bridger’s ship is able to jump to hyperspace, but when he pleads with the Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma says there is little she can do to help. The rest of the rebels flee back to the surface of Atollon, driven downward by the Empire.

With nowhere else to turn, Ezra seeks help from Sabine and the Mandalorians while the rest of the rebels on Atollon mount a ground defense. At the last moment, the Bendu appears in a lightning storm and begins destroying Imperial forces. The Ghost crew manages to escape while Thrawn orders his forces to shoot at the center of the storm which seems to knock down the Bendu from his position in the sky. Meanwhile, Ezra and the Mandalorians inflict significant damage on Thrawn’s fleet. Agent Kallus escapes and is picked up by the Ghost –the whole remaining Phoenix Squadron jumps to hyperspace. Back on Atollon, the Bendu reveals to Thrawn that he foresees Thrawn’s forthcoming demise –his downfall will come in the form of many arms in a cold embrace…        

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Star Wars Rebels, Season 2 (2015-2016) Review

Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels dives considerably deeper into each character’s backstory –we learn more about Ezra Bridger’s family, Hera’s family on Ryloth, Zeb’s fellow Lasats, Darth Vader appears as does Maul and Ahsoka Tano, and in a delightful bit of nostalgia-bait, several characters from The Clone Wars reappear including Hondo Ohnaka and three beloved clone soldiers –Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor. We are also presented with the existence of a broader rebellion, a loose confederation of recalcitrant militants.    

The graphics in Season 2 are simply astounding for an animated show –we can see the shine on stormtrooper’s helmets, the crash of laser fire, smoke lifting from the field of battle, and the score is every bit as transcendent and reminiscent of John Williams’s original. I had a lot of fun watching this show. Also, the detail added into this season is extraordinary –for example, the surgical scars on the former clones who removed their Order 66 chips can be visible, along with the places where characters received battle scars in season 1.

Episodes 1-2 “The Siege of Lothal Parts I and II”     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost crew has now joined with fellow disparate members of the Rebel Alliance. This dual episode season opener begins with the rebels robbing an Imperial cargo while Minister Tua, a female Imperial bureaucrat and representative from Lothal, is currently being blamed by Darth Vader for recent failures on the planet. Therefore, Minister Tua decides to defect. She sends a message to the rebels begging for safe transportation off Lothal before she faces Imperial retribution. She promises to deliver Imperial secrets including a list of rebel sympathizers and also the true reason for why the Empire maintains a heavy presence on Lothal… The rebels decide to rescue Minister Tua, although Kanan privately expresses to Hera his skepticism over joining this new loose confederation of rebels. Kanan lived through the Clone Wars and is not eager to become party to another war –he much prefers the old days when the Ghost crew was simply robbing from the Empire to help the needy. Now, he feels encumbered by the rebel alliance’s military bureaucracy under Commander Jun Sato (Keone Young). At any rate, before they can complete the rescue of Minister Tua, she is killed and Darth Vader returns (reprised by James Earl Jones).

Part II begins with a brief lightsaber showdown between Ezra/Kanan and Darth Vader –they only narrowly manage to escape. However, their ship is an un-shielded transport ship so they must find safer means to get off Lothal. They reluctantly reconnect with Lando Calrissian (reprised by Billy Dee Williams), but he is not currently located on Lothal, so his personal droid links them up with a stolen Imperial ship and they disguise their escape off Lothal. They return to the rebel fleet but their stolen Imperial ship has been tracked by none other than Darth Vader himself who appears in a single TIE Fighter. Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka sense the cold, hateful presence of Darth Vader –and when he realizes Ahsoka is nearby, Vader remarks, “the apprentice lives…” In the end, Vader is returned to his Imperial fleet and he speaks with the Emperor who instructs him to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt down the rebels.

Episodes 3-4 “The Lost Commanders” and “Relics of the Old Republic”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Knowing that the Empire will be pursuing the rebels, Ahsoka Tano sends the Ghost crew on a mission to find a mysterious old military commander she once knew during the Clone Wars… the mission leads them to the remote Seelos system along the outer rim where they find an old Clone Wars era Republic tank outfitted by three aging clone soldiers –none other than Rex (7567), Wolffe, and Gregor from The Clone Wars. While they are too old for battle now, Rex promises to help the rebels uncover some of the secret bases along the outer rim in exchange for helping hunt joopa (giant sandworms a la Dune) which could feed these three rogue clones for the whole year.

However, one of the clones betrays the rebels to the Empire –it turns out to be Wolffe, who issued a distress call in fear of retribution from the Empire. An Imperial probe arrives and raids the ship until Rex shoots it down which is followed by a TIE Fighter and a ground assault of AT-ATs led by Agent Kallus. Instead of fighting while they are clearly outgunned, the rebels head into a growing sandstorm which scrambles sensors and they take a single shot which knocks out the AT-ATs. Darth Vader then orders the Imperial fleet to rendezvous with his shuttle, stranding Agent Kallus who is forced to flee on a speeder. In the end, Rex is reunited with Ahsoka. I thought this was an all-around wonderful string of episodes with lots of callbacks to the era of The Clone Wars, plus seeing Ahsoka reunited with Rex is a terrific bit of Star Wars fan nostalgia. In the end, however, a new fearsome Inquisitor (the Fifth Brother) is summoned by Darth Vader.

Episode 5 “Always Two There Are”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With Kanan and Rex mired in constant bickering (Kanan is highly suspicious of the trustworthiness of clones), Zeb, Sabine, Chopper, and Ezra all volunteer to visit an Old Republic medical facility in order to retrieve supplies with coordinates provided by Rex when they are suddenly surprised by new inquisitors –the Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez). They are surprised to see more than one. In the end, the rebels narrowly escape, albeit troubled by the fact that they do not know their enemies quite as well as they once thought. This episode leaves us hanging on an ominous note –there are apparently many Inquisitors who are now hunting down the Jedi.  

Episode 6 “Brothers of the Broken Horn”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vizago’s ship the “Broken Horn” sends a distress signal but when Ezra and Chopper arrive at the derelict vessel, Ezra discovers the pirate Hondo Ohnaka (who featured prominently in The Clone Wars, reprised by Jim Cummings). Upon arrival, the ship is eerily quiet, filled with inoperative droids –apparently Hondo won the ship from Vizago in a game of sabacc. Ezra lies to Hondo and claims his name is “Lando Calrissian” and together they conduct a deal with Azmorigan (the crime lord from Season 1) in the trade of valuable generators, but it goes awry, and in the end Ezra briefly considers becoming a pirate (after all, Inquisitors do not hunt pirates) until Ezra finds Vizago imprisoned and releases him. This leads to a battle royale as Vizago awakens the slumbering droids on his ship. Ezra escapes back to his crew. He realizes that he used to live like Hondo, but now he lives for something far greater than himself. This episode offers a fun bit of fluff.  

Episode 7 “Wings of the Master”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost and its rebel partners in “Phoenix Squadron” are attempting to break an Imperial blockade over a rebel outpost which is in vital need of food supplies. Hera, Zeb, and Sabine travel to meet with a Mon Calamari mechanic named Quarrie (Corey Burton) and his droid “Bee-Gee” with the hopes of securing a better ship which can break the blockade. After a turbulent trip through the planet’s atmosphere, their ship is damaged and they are given a somewhat dilapidated old ship called a Blade Wing or “B-Wing” from Quarrie. During repairs, Hera explains a bit of her backstory on Ryloth during the Clone Wars and her desire to help people in need. After some repairs, the ship is ready and it manages to break the blockade. In the end, Hera is promoted by the rebels at Kanan’s request.

Episode 8 “Blood Sisters”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sabine and Ezra (along with Chopper) are sent on a mission to meet a mysterious courier using the codephrase “it’s a long way to Alderaan” but the courier winds up being a droid and they encounter a bounty hunter named Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres) who works for the Black Sun syndicate. As it turns out, Sabine is also a former bounty hunter and she and Ketsu were once close friends, even like sisters. In fact, they broke out of the Imperial Academy together. When stormtroopers arrive, they all battle their way through stormtroopers and eventually wind-up joining forces in space. In the end, Sabine and Ketsu reunite and we are led to believe they will cross paths once again down the road.

Episode 9 “Stealth Strike”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra and Commander Sato are captured and imprisoned when the Ghost is suddenly pulled out of hyperdrive by an experimental new Imperial “gravity” weapon aboard an Interdictor cruiser. During the rescue led by Kanan, Rex risks his life and is captured and threatened with torture until Kanan, his frequent sparring partner owing to a prejudice against traitorous clones, decides to rescue Rex. Finally, Rex and Kanan learn to respect one another. In the end, Chopper sabotages the Imperial weapon allowing for their escape.   

Episode 10 “The Future of the Force”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A transport ship is taken over by the Empire and the two inquisitors we previously met confiscate a baby from its grandmother. Meanwhile, Ahsoka explains to Kanan that she has been tracking communications on Mustafar in the hopes of learning more about the mysterious Sith Lord they previously encountered (she does not yet know the true identity of Darth Vader) and thus far details remain elusive. In the process, Ahsoka and the ghost crew uncover an Imperial plot to kidnap force sensitive younglings and prevent future Jedi from growing up. Ahsoka impressively battles both inquisitors and escapes capture. In the end, it is revealed that the Empire was bugging the younglings and they learn of the rebel presence on the planet Garel.

Episode 11 “Legacy”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra has a vision of his parents which leads to information provided by his old family friend Tseebo –that his parents were once taken to an Imperial prison. Following an imperial invasion on Garel they flee back to Lothal where Ezra meets Ryder Azadi (voiced by actor Clancy Brown, who previously voiced Savage Opress from The Clone Wars), former governor of Lothal, who tells Ezra that his parents died not long ago in an imperial prison while they were both encouraging others to break out of prison, and that they were inspired by Ezra’s message which was blasted across the galaxy a few episodes back. Ezra takes comfort in knowing that his parents died heroes.

Episode 12 “A Princess on Lothal”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The return of Princess Leia! Senator Bail Organa sends three much-needed cruisers to Lothal led by his daughter, Princess Leia Organa (voiced by Julie Dolan). The rebels stage a ruse wherein they “kidnap” Princess Leia in order to preserve the illusion of her alliance with the Empire (thereby protecting Alderaan), and with help from formerly imprisoned Ryder Azadi whom we met in the previous episode, the rebels recapture their ships from Imperial forces and Ryder Azadi officially decides to rejoin the rebels in the fight against the Empire.

Episode 13 “The Protector of Concord Dawn”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Concord Dawn is a Mandalorian colony (not an Imperial territory yet) known for its elite warriors who trained clones during the Clone Wars –in particular, Concord Dawn is known for a Separatist faction called “The Protectors.” With the Empire tightening its grip over Lothal, the Ghost crew is seeking a new smuggling route through Concord Dawn. After attempting to make contact, Hera is injured by Fenn Rau (Kevinn McKidd), leader of The Protectors of Concord Dawn, a former fighter pilot in the Grand army of the Old Republic who fought at the Third Battle of Mygeeto. Both Rex and Kanan remember Fenn Rau from the Clone Wars and so they decide to infiltrate the Protector base on the third moon. As it turns out, Fenn Rau is being paid off by the Empire, but Kanan still believes he can persuade the Mandalorians to join the rebellion (he is secretly joined by Sabine). While Kanan attempts to persuade Fenn Rau, Sabine is surrounded by Mandalorians –she declares that her clan is Wren, House Vizsla of the rogue “Death Watch” squad (in truth, Sabine’s mother was merely once a member of Death Watch). She invokes the Mandalorian code which calls for a fight to the death, but in the face-off with Fenn Rau, Sabine simply shoots the gun out of Fenn Rau’s hand and detonates a string of explosives, destroying the Protectors’ ships. In the end, Kanan captures Fenn Rau and, not wanting to draw further Imperial attention, Fenn Rau agrees to allow safe passage through their system for the rebellion.

Personally, I am drawn to any Mandalorian narrative in Star Wars. Between Concord Dawn, the Protectors, Death Watch, and the darksaber –there is quite a rich lore surrounding the Mandalorians.

Episode 14 “Legends of the Lasat”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a tip from the whimsical pirate Hondo Ohnaka, Ezra and the Ghost crew surprisingly rescue a pair of Lasats from Imperial custody: Chava the Wise and a former member of the guard named Gron, both of whom recognize Zeb as “Captain of the Lasan Honor Guard.” None of the Ghost crew were aware that Zeb was once a captain. According to ancient Lasat prophecy, they wish to travel to a mythical place known as Lira San, a paradise where the Lasat originally came from. While escaping Agent Kallus, they fly the Ghost into an anomaly which takes them to Lira San. After discovering this fabled planet, Zeb decides to return to the Ghost and if they find any other surviving Lasats, he will help them chart the path to Lira San.  

Note: It is in this episode that the “ancient” names of the sides of the Force are first revealed by Chava, calling the light side the ashla, and the dark side the bogan. These are repeated by The Bendu on Atollon in a later episode of Rebels.

Episode 15 “The Call”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While in search of fuel, the Ghost crew encounters a pack of purrgil, deep space-travelling creatures whom Hera considers dangerous. The creatures appear to be akin to space whales, albeit with tentacles. Eventually Ezra establishes a mental connection through the force with the purrgil before they vanish –and we learn that these creatures have the ability to travel through hyperspace naturally (they are one of the only known creatures who can travel faster than lightspeed organically). However, Hera is biased against the purrgil since they are dangerous, and occasionally wander into shipping lanes and attack ships, however old explorers would often tell stories about how the purrgil initially inspired mankind to travel through deep space. However, after shooting a pair of hostile TIE fighters sent from a nearby mining operation, the purrgil lead the Ghost to the Imperial mining facility and the crew decides to invade the facility. In the attack, Ezra is rescued by the purrgil who are affected by the gaseous emissions of this facility, while the rest of the crew refuel the ship and destroy the Imperial facility.

The introduction of the purrgil in this episode makes it a remarkable addition to the Star Wars universe in my view –despite being a simple story about a fuel shortage within the rebellion, the purrgil will play an important role down the road.  

Episode 16 “Homecoming”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amidst a battle with the empire, the beleaguered rebels are in need of a place to store rebel pilots and ships. Thus, the Ghost crew attempts to hijack an Imperial carrier over Ryloth. To assist in the mission, Hera reluctantly contacts her Twi’lek father, Cham (Robin Atkin Downes), with whom she has not spoken in years. He was a hero during the Clone Wars (“the liberator of Ryloth”) and fought alongside Mace Windu at the capital city of Lessu. But Hera claims he became far too interested in his vision for Ryloth, rather than his own family, so they grew apart. At any rate, Cham and several Twi’leks create a secret plan of their own wherein they intend to destroy the Imperial vessel rather than hijack it. In the end, the rebels persuade Cham to join their cause and Ezra uses the force on the Imperial captain who then makes an order to abandon ship.

Note: Hera and her father Cham speak with a French accent.

Episode 17 “The Honorable Ones”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Empire has been constructing a mysterious weapon over Geonosis according to rebel intelligence. The Geonosians made weapons during The Clone Wars. When the Ghost crew lands, the facility is initially empty but the crew is quickly ambushed by Agent Kallus and his forces. In the scuffle, Zeb and Kallus wind up together on an icy moon over Geonosis where they struggle to survive in below freezing temperatures, but Kallus (with an injured leg) admits that he secretly respects Lasat warriors and they both realize their own prejudices against one another. In addition, the truth about the massacre on Lasan is revealed. Kallus was initially deployed to Oneron when they ran into a rebel Lasat mercenary who massacred his unit one by one. Even the Empire faces atrocities from time to time. At any rate, they both work together to escape a pack of hungry rhinocerous-esque ice cave creatures. In the end, Zeb is rescued by the rebellion while Agent Kallus is eventually rescued by the Empire. The closing shot contrasts Zeb being greeted by friends, while Kallus sits alone in his sterile room, contemplating his decision to remain loyal to the Empire.

This episode offers a rare bit of insight into the Empire –perhaps Imperials like Agent Kallus are not all entirely one-dimensional, vicious villains. It also foreshadows a change of heart for Kallus.  

Episode 18 “Shroud of Darkness”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The rebels are in desperate need of a remote planet to establish a base. Ezra and Kanan are locked in a lightsaber duel with two Inquisitors (the Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister) after a failed attempt at discovering a new planet for a rebel base. When Ezra and Kanan escape back to the fleet, Ahsoka Tano reflects on her former master Anakin Skywalker. Since the Inquisitors seem to turn up everywhere the rebels attempt to establish a base, Ahsoka suggests that perhaps they should turn to counsel of Master Yoda. Thus, Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka return to Lothal where Kanan and Ezra re-open the Jedi temple from the first season –only this time there is something different about the temple. Kanan is confronted by a guard who warns him that the darkside of the force is pulling at Ezra, and therefore Ezra must be eliminated, while Ezra communicates with Master Yoda (Frank Oz). Meanwhile, the Inquisitors manage to track the Jedi to the Temple. Under duress, when he finally admits that he cannot keep fighting forever, Kanan is surprisingly knighted by his sentinel/guard opponent who reveals his mask to show the face of the Grand Inquisitor he killed in Season 1 –he was once apparently a Jedi Knight, as well. Meanwhile, Master Yoda sighs and reluctantly instructs Ezra to “find Malachor.” The episode ends as the two Inquisitors reveal the location of the secret Jedi Temple on Lothal to Darth Vader.

Episode 19 “The Forgotten Droid”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A silly droid episode: The rebellion believes it has finally found a suitable location for their base in the Yost System. And while seeking a new leg, Chopper mistakenly finds himself stranded aboard an Imperial freighter. With the aid of an inventory droid named AP-5 (Stephen Stanton), Chopper learns that the Yost System is secretly crawling with a heavy Imperial presence. In the end, Chopper is rescued –this is a silly filler episode in my view, but still better than the Jar Jar Binks episodes in The Clone Wars show.  

Episode 20 “The Mystery of Chopper Base”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The rebellion has finally discovered a location for their future base –on Atollon, a hot and dry locale populated with giant “Krykna” spiders. One of the Krykna spiders kidnaps Rex who is then rescued by the Ghost crew. The rebels construct a fence of sensor beacons which deter the spiders from their base while Kanan reassures Hera about his upcoming quest for Malachor.  

Episodes 21-22 “Twilight of the Apprentice Parts I & II”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In one of the best episodes in the series, Ahsoka, Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper travel to Malachor (per Yoda’s suggestion). On Malachor, they very quickly discover an ancient Sith temple where a battle once took place between Sith and Jedi. But they are once again disrupted by an Inquisitor (the Eighth Brother) who sends Ezra crashing below the ground and into the shadows, where he encounters a strange hooded figure dwelling in the darkness. The figure prefers to be called “Old Master” and he promises to show Ezra the secret entrance to the Sith temple so that Ezra can attain the knowledge he seeks. As they weave their way through underground tunnels, the Old Master eventually lifts his hood and reveals himself to be none other than Maul (Sam Witwer). He leads Ezra to a Sith holocron inside the temple, all the while encouraging him to harness his anger.

Ezra hands the holocron over to Maul (formerly Darth Maul) and they both rejoin with Kanan and Ahsoka, fighting the Inquisitors while climbing up into the temple to place the holocron inside the upper chamber obelisk which activates the whole temple as a weapon. Ezra helps Kanan and Ahsoka battle alongside Maul at first, but he soon turns his lightsaber on the Jedi once the Inquisitors are defeated, and he proclaims Ezra his new apprentice. In the fight, Kanan’s eyes are damaged (he is blinded) so he dons a helmet, while Ahsoka battles her old Master, Darth Vader. During the duel, she finally learns the truth as she bursts a hole in his helmet which reveals Vader’s eye (in this iconic moment we hear Matt Lantern’s voice mixed with James Earl Jones which gives a chilling effect). They continue fighting as the temple collapses and explodes. Kanan and Ezra are then whisked away while the future of Ahsoka seems uncertain. Ezra decides to hold onto the Sith holocron…  In the end, we see Darth Vader trudge away from the Sith Temple while Ahsoka is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, a now-blinded Kanan returns to Hera’s embrace, while Ezra’s silence to Rex shows that his oldest friend, Ahsoka Tano, will not be returning. This darkly powerful episode ends Season 2 on an emotionally gripping high note.  

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Star Wars Rebels, Season 1 (2014–15) Review

After Disney acquired Lucasfilm, and rather abruptly canceled the fan favorite show The Clone Wars (a tumultuous act which was apparently due to licensing rights with Disney’s competitor Cartoon Network), in its wake, Disney/Lucasfilm greenlit a new sequel show led by legendary Clone Wars showrunner, Dave Filoni. Thus, Star Wars Rebels was born –a 3D animated family-friendly show with visually arresting scenery and loads of wonderful nods to the original trilogy. It takes place during the era of the budding rebellion, five years before the events of A New Hope (and fourteen years after the events of Revenge of the Sith). The show introduces a cohort of new characters aboard a small freighter ship called The Ghost –Ezra Bridger, a force-sensitive orphan boy who hails from the remote farming planet of Lothal (voiced by Taylor Gray); Kanan Jarrus, a rare Jedi who escaped from the Jedi Temple as padawan during “Order 66” (then known by the name “Caleb Dume”) though he watched the murder of his master Depa Billaba (Kanan is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.); Hera Syndulla, a Twi’lek pilot whose mother Cham was a freedom fighter on Ryloth (voiced by Vanessa Marshall); Sabine Wren, a young Mandalorian warrior, artist, and former bounty hunter and Imperial fighter whom Ezra seems to fancy at first (voiced by Tiya Sircar); and Garazebb “Zeb” Orrelios, the Chewbacca-esque former Lasat honor guard warrior who seeks vengeance on the Empire for massacring his people (voiced by Steven Blum). Lastly, there is an amusing astromech droid unit named Chopper (voiced by none other than Dave Filoni, himself).  

As with The Clone Wars, there are also many classic Star Wars cameos in Rebels –James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Frank Oz as Yoda, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn, Dee Bradley Baker as Rex, Jim Cummings as Hondo Ohnaka, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera… and many others. There is also a lot of unique lore explored in this first season –Imperial cadet training, Agents and Inquisitors, kyber crystals, and other fascinating ingredients.

In some ways, Rebels is a love letter to Ralph McQuarrie and his original concept artwork for Star Wars. The cinematic quality of this show is quite remarkable from hand-drawn lasers, to the shine on stormtrooper helmets, as well as sweeping vistas of far-away planetary topography. Prior to the show’s release, four Rebels short episodes aired. These fun little adventures follow the Ghost as it battles TIE fighters, stormtroopers, and in the fourth episode we are introduced to the show’s de fact protagonist, Ezra Bridger as he robs a crashed TIE fighter. Unlike The Clone Wars, which is not a chronological show, Rebels must be watched in order. In this way, we watch the characters learn and grow over time as they fit into the broader Star Wars universe (as well as the Filoni-verse, which is increasingly the only compelling area of Star Wars which is still being produced in the Disney era). While this is definitely more of a show for children than the dark undertones of The Cone Wars, I have to admit I thought Rebels was an all-around wonderful program. With striking cinematography, a powerful musical score, and a setting that corresponds to the rule of the Empire and the early birth of the rebellion (my favorite era of Star Wars), I was hooked from the very first “karabast!”  

Episodes 1-2 “Spark of Rebellion Parts I and II”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It is five years before the Battle of Yavin (ABY) and during the reign of the Galactic Empire. We open this series with an ominous injunction issued by Darth Vader to an Inquisitor: “The Jedi knights are all but destroyed, and yet your task is not complete, Inquisitor. The Emperor has foreseen a new threat rising against him –the children of the force. They must not become Jedi.” This becomes the overarching tension of the first season –the hunt for the “children of the force.” Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) of the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) is led by a Grand Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs) who has been tasked by Darth Vader with hunting down the last of any remaining Jedi.

Next, we meet a young blue-haired, force-sensitive orphan boy named Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) living on a remote outer rim world called Lothal, a humble grain-filled planet populated with farmers and shopkeeps as well as an urban core known as “Capital City.” It is where we learn of “Tarkin Town” (inspired by historical Hoovervilles in the United States), and there is also a native species to the planet: Loth-Cats and Loth-Wolves.   

In the market one day, Ezra accidentally joins up with a ragtag band of rebels operating a spaceship called the “Ghost” which is led by a Jedi named Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), a Twi’lek pilot named Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), a Mandalorian saboteur named Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), an astromech droid named Chopper (Dave Filoni), and a Lasat strongman named Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steven Blum). They steal an Imperial crate filled with weapons and escape an Imperial cruiser along with its accompanying TIE fighters. Agent Kallus catches wind of the theft and decides to increase the Imperial footprint on Lothal.

The Ghost crew travels to a remote spot on Lothal to distribute the stolen arms to a Devaronian crime lord named Cikatro Vizago (Keith Szarabajka), and he then sends them on a dangerous mission to rescue a pack of Wookies from an Imperial Star Destroyer. They Wookies have been sent to die in the spice mines on Kessel (spice mine K-76), however the whole scene turns out to be a set-up. Ezra is captured by the Empire after Zeb fatefully leaves him behind in a morally questionable moment while under fire. In prison, Ezra accidentally opens a holocron artifact he swiped from the Ghost which reveals a secret warning message to any surviving Jedi from Obi-Wan Kenobi regarding the fall of the Jedi:

“This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place. This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi: Trust in the force. Do not return to the temple, that time has passed and our future is uncertain. We will leach be challenged –our trust, our faith, our friendships. But we must persevere and in time, a new hope will emerge. May the force be with you, always.”

In the end, Ezra is rescued and invited to join the crew of the Ghost where he will learn the ways of the force from Kanan Jarrus. It is a terrific introduction to the show, and a it presents a formula which will be mostly repeated through each episode.    

Episode 3 “Droids in Distress”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost crew travels undercover on a transport ship headed for Garel to pose as arms dealers where R2 D2 and C-3PO suddenly appear as translators for Minister Tua of Lothal. The crew orchestrates a translator mix-up in order to disrupt an Aqualish arms dealer named Amda Wabo (Steve Blum) from completing his sale to the Empire. The droids are forced to the back of the ship in a ruse concocted by Ezra, and Sabine pretends to be studying for her “level five” exams at the Imperial Academy. While falsely directing Minister Tua to Bay 17, the crew head for Bay 7 to steal the valuable shipment of T-7 ion disruptors, weaponry which can disable a starship and which were also once used against Zeb’s people on his home-world of Lasan. Very few Lasats like Zeb survived the assault. During the heist, they learn that these T-7 ion disruptors were scheduled to be sent as prototypes to Lothal where they would be mass produced.

After escaping with the armaments, R2 D2 and C-3PO briefly join the crew of the Ghost and they return to Cikatro Vizago to deliver the crates of T-7’s. However, C-3PO clumsily issues a distress call back to the Empire hoping for his own rescue. A battle then ensues. Zeb fights with Agent Kallus who brandishes a Bo-rifle, knowing that only the guardsmen of Lasan may carry such a weapon. In the end, Ezra accidentally uses the force and rescues Zeb and the Ghost returns the droids, R2 D2 and C-3PO, to their mystery owner, Senator Bail Organa (Phil LaMarr). The episode ends as a future friendship is foreshadowed between Bail Organa and the Ghost crew.

Episode 4 “Fighter Flight”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ezra and Zeb are sent on a supply run together into the Lothal marketplace in order to find food for the ship. However, they have trouble locating some meiloorun fruit (a type of melon which does not grow naturally on Lothal). They discover that the Empire has been harassing local farmers and stealing their land. One of the farmers, Mr. Sumar, is familiar to Ezra, and he is being pressured to hand his farm over to the Empire. Things escalate when the farmers are arrested. Despite constantly squabbling, Zeb hijacks a TIE fighter and they free some of the wrongly imprisoned farmers while recovering meiloorun fruit for the Ghost. Admittedly, this is a more whimsically playful episode, but it still offers a bit of fun filler and it allows for the relationship between Ezra and Zeb to grow.

Note: Meiloorun was first mentioned in the second X-Wing Expanded Universe novel Wedge’s Gamble

Episode 5 “Rise of the Old Masters”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ezra is being trained by Kanan, who is growing impatient with his young trainee. Meanwhile, Ezra and Zeb’s stolen TIE fighter stunt from the previous episode is broadcast on the Imperial holonet as a warning to all rebels –but the broadcast is quickly interrupted by Senator-in-Exile Gall Trayvis (Brent Spiner, who also played Data in Star Trek TNG). He is “the only member of the Imperial Senate with the courage to speak out against the Empire.” The encrypted message declares that Jedi Master Luminara Unduli is still alive –she survived Order 66 as well as the Clone Wars—and she has been imprisoned in the Stygeon system inside “The Spire,” a heavily fortified Imperial prison. However, it turns out to be a trap set by the Inquisitor. The Ghost crew invades the Spire to rescue Master Unduli and Kanan hopes to hand Ezra over to Master Unduli for Jedi training, but the Inquisitor arrives and engages in a lightsaber duel with Kanan. As it turns out, Luminara Unduli is actually deceased and the whole plan was a ruse. During the battle, the Inquisitor’s spinning lightsaber reveals that Kanan was trained by Jedi Master Depa Billaba. In an amusing twist, while the crew has been busy with the failed rescue mission, several large dragon-esque creatures known as “Tibidees” (their name was based on the placeholder title of “TBD”) have been attempting to mate with the Phantom ship piloted by Hera (the Phantom is the short-range shuttlecraft of the Ghost) –and they all wind up saving the crew together. After the attempt to hand Ezra over to Master Unduli fails, Kanan pledges to train Ezra himself and he issues a message to any other surviving Jedi that Master Unduli is dead.

Note: The Spire was initially set to appear in The Clone Wars but the episodes were never completed.

Episode 6 “Breaking Ranks”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ezra sneaks into Imperial cadet Squad LRC-077, an Imperial stormtrooper training academy squad for cadets, posing undercover as “Dev Morgan.” The purpose of his mission is to acquire a decoder which will help prevent an Imperial shipment of kyber crystals. Ezra delivers the decoder to the Ghost crew via the droid Chopper but the Inquisitor arrives to test the top tier cadets so Ezra decides to help his young cadet friends, Jai Kell and Zare Leonis, escape from the Empire. In the end, Zare Leonis decides to remain in the academy to help free his sister who has tragically been swallowed up into the Empire somewhere.

Episode 7 “Out of Darkness”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Sabine and Hera run a risky supply mission at an abandoned Republic base (“Fort Anaxes”) thanks to an anonymous insider source called “Fulcrum,” however antics between Ezra, Zeb, and the droid Chopper fail to fully complete a diagnostics test on the Phantom ship and it causes a fuel leak. Sabine and Hera are then attacked by dangerous Fyrnock creatures who fight under the shroud of darkness. When an asteroid passes over the nearest star, their lives are suddenly in danger. Hera and Sabine strategically place barrels of ridonia around the loading dock set to explode and kill the Fyrnock. Meanwhile, the Ghost races against time to rescue Sabine and Hera, and in the end Sabine, a former cadet at the Imperial Academy on Mandalore, grows to trust Hera and the burgeoning rebellion in a much deeper way.

Episode 8-9 “Empire Day” and “Gathering Forces”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kanan continues teaching Ezra about the force –“The point is that you are not alone. You are connected to every other living being in the universe. But to discover that, you have to let your guard down. You have to be willing to attach to others.” However, Ezra is distracted. It is the fifteenth anniversary of “Empire Day,” a holiday created to celebrate Emperor Palpatine, an emotional day for Ezra since he was born on the very first “Empire Day.” Several TIE fighters visit a remote region of Lothal in search of a Rodian named Tseebo whom Ezra knows. An Empire Day broadcast is interrupted by Senator-in-Exile Gall Trayvis who urges everyone to boycott the festivities. While the rest of the Ghost crew disrupts the Empire Day parade and then sabotages the unveiling of a new TIE fighter (the “Sienar System’s Advanced TIE Starfighter”), the Inquisitor and Agent Kallus chase them across Capital City and Ezra leads them to a secret location where he finds Tseebo, an old friend of his parents. Tseebo has implanted Imperial data in his brain which reveals a treasure trove of information, including a five-year plan for the planet of Lothal as well as every other planet in the region. With the Inquisitor and Agent Kallus in hot pursuit, The Ghost crew steals an Imperial troop transport and escape.

In a continuation, the Ghost is wildly fleeing Imperial forces led by the Inquisitor while Ezra learns secret information from Tseebo that his parents were taken away by the Empire. Tseebo apologizes to Ezra, and as it turns out, the Empire has planted a tracker aboard the Phantom on the Ghost and is now following the ship (via the XX-23 S-thread tracker by Sienar Systems which can track ships through hyperspace). The crew decides to make a dangerous detachment through hyperspace, but Ezra and Kanan are tracked by the Inquisitor to a remote facility where Ezra learns a dark but valuable lesson about himself –he conquers his fear of the truth, forgives Tseebo for allowing his parents to be captured, even if Ezra is tempted by the dark side of the force to summon a huge Fyrnock against the Inquisitor which allows both he and Kanan to escape.

In the end, Sabine wishes Ezra a happy birthday by presenting him with a cleaned-up holodisk from his house which features an image of Ezra as a baby alongside his parents. 

Episode 10 “Path of the Jedi”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After Ezra’s accidental use of the dark side of the force in the previous episode, Kanan decides to test Ezra’s willpower a la Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. Ezra is led to a giant temple on Lothal where he faces his darkest fears. He passes the tests led by a Jedi guide –none other than the voice of Master Yoda. In the course of events, Ezra earns his kyber crystals for his own unique unconventional lightsaber, a weapon which doubles as both a gun and a saber.

Episode 11 “Idiot’s Array”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While gambling over a game of sabacc, Zeb loses a bet to Lando Calrissian (reprised by Billy Dee Williams) and so the Ghost crew must help him in a smuggling operation. Even though Zeb played a “sabacc” hand, Lando had an “Idiot’s Array” and for his victory he requires a faster ship and the droid Chopper. Lando leads them into a deal that goes sideways with a nasty crime lord named Azmorigan (James Hong). In a surprise twist, Lando hands over Hera in exchange for a puffer pig and when Hera escapes, Azmorigan attempts to take over the Ghost but the droid Chopper saves the day. Lando brings his puffer pig to Lothal and the episode ends as he promises to see Chopper again. This episode was a bit silly but I cannot hate a Lando cameo!

Note: the game sabacc first appeared in the Lando Calrissian novels in the Expanded Universe novel-verse. Also the design of Azmorigan was based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original artwork of Jabba the Hutt.

Episode 12 “Vision of Hope”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While undergoing lightsaber training, Ezra has a vision of exiled rebel Senator Gall Trayviss who apparently knew Ezra’s parents. Then a coded message is sent by Trayvis –he will be visiting the Freedom mural inside the Old Republic Senate building. Ezra runs into Zare Leonis and they try to arrange an undercover meeting with Trayvis, but it is infiltrated by Agent Kallus and his troops. However, while they escape through the sewers, Senator Trayvis betrays the Ghost crew in a shocking twist. It is also revealed that Ezra’s parents were the ones who issued the “Bridger Transmissions,” however they are now apparently gone.

Episodes 13-15 “Call to Action,” “Rebel Resolve,” and “Fire Across the Galaxy”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Grand Moff Tarkin visits Lothal and chides the Inquisitor as well as Agent Kallus for failing to quell the recent rebel activity. He instructs the Inquisitor to finally capture the lone Jedi and to deal with the rampant acts of terrorism. In the scuffle, Kanan is captured and taken to Tarkin while Ezra and the others escape and deliver a message to the people of Lothal.

Ezra and the Ghost crew struggle to locate where Kanan is being held on Lothal by the Empire. They battle Imperial walkers, and Hera’s covert contact codenamed “Fulcrum” instructs her to end the search for Kanan while he is imprisoned by the Empire. Ezra cannot accept Hera’s decision to abandon the search, so Ezra, Sabine, Zeb and the droid Chopper disobey Hera and secretly return to the arms dealer Vizago to jointly hatch a plan to find Kanan. An irate Hera rejoins them, and because Kanan has proved capable of withstanding various forms of torture, he is threatened with a transfer from Lothal to a new secret location –“one that never fails to extract a confession.” The droid Chopper steals covert Imperial communications which show that Kanan is aboard Tarkin’s Destroyer “The Sovereign” which is still over Lothal but scheduled to head for Mustafar, “where Jedi go to die.”

In the final episode of Season One, The Ghost crew invades an Imperial base and steals schematics of Tarkin’s ship. Next, they re-animate an old TIE Fighter they stole earlier in the season which has been sitting in the desert of Lothal even though it has now been colorfully painted by Sabine. Meanwhile, the Inquisitor tortures and interrogates Kanan, reminding him of his master Depa Billaba and demanding to know the identity of the person codenamed “Fulcrum.” However, the rest of the Ghost crew arrives on the Star Destroyer in orbit over Mustafar and releases a pulse detonation which shuts down power across the Destroyer. They sneak through the ship –Ezra rescues Kanan, and together, they engage in a lightsaber duel with the Inquisitor. During the fight Ezra falls from a high elevated platform, however he survives by landing on a platform beneath him, and Kanan defeats the Inquisitor who is left dangling over a fiery pit as the ship has been irretrievably damaged. The Inquisitor warns that Kanan has no “idea what he has unleashed today” and that there “’are some things worse than death.” He then smiles and releases himself into the fire presumably to his own demise. While the crew attempts to flee from the Empire, Chopper receives communication from “Fulcrum” and suddenly a small army of Blockade runners arrives to rescue the Ghost crew. They all jump to hyperspace and receive a transmission from Senator Bail Organa who reveals his role in the rebellion and then the true identity of “Fulcrum” is shockingly revealed –it is none other than Ahsoka Tano! And the episode concludes as Grand Moff Tarkin tells Agent Kallus that the Emperor has sent an “alternative solution” to the problem of a growing rebellion as we see Darth Vader emerge from a nearby ship.

Return to my survey of the Star Wars series